United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 88-10: Materials Licensees: Lack of Management Controls over Licensed Programs

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                 March 28, 1988


Information Notice No. 88-10:  MATERIALS LICENSEES:  LACK OF MANAGEMENT 
                                   CONTROLS OVER LICENSED PROGRAMS 
     
Addressees: 

All NRC licensees authorized to use byproduct material. 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to remind byproduct material licensees of 
their responsibilities for ensuring that radiation safety activities are per-
formed in accordance with license conditions and other regulatory 
requirements.  It is expected that licensees will review this information for 
applicability to their programs, distribute the notice to responsible 
radiation safety staff, and consider actions, if appropriate, to prevent 
problems from occurring at their facilities.  However, suggestions contained 
in this Information Notice do not constitute new NRC requirements, and no 
written response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

During 1987, there were 56 cases in which the NRC took escalated enforcement 
action against byproduct material licensees.  Thirty-one of these cases in-
volved a civil penalty, 14 involved Orders to suspend the licenses or to show 
cause why the license should not be revoked, and one involved a Demand for 
Information.  These escalated enforcement actions were taken because various 
serious violations of NRC license requirements occurred.  These violations 
included employees being overexposed to radiation and members of the public 
being unnecessarily exposed to radiation.  In addition, the financial conse-
quences to the affected licensees have been significant because of the loss of 
income from the payment of civil penalties, the suspension or revocation of 
the license, and the costs of implementing corrective actions on an expedited 
basis. 

An analysis of the causes of escalated enforcement cases identify three common 
reasons for serious violations.  These were:

1.   Failure of management to read and understand the conditions of the 
     license.  Some licensees were unfamiliar with their license and the 
     requirement to maintain a radiation safety program.  NRC inspectors have 
     found that some licensee managers have never read their license and have 
     little understanding of license conditions and commitments.  

.    Failure to train the workforce properly regarding the requirements of the 
     license, including required radiation safety procedures.


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.    Failure to monitor licensed operations, including failure to assure that 
     licensee employees follow approved radiation safety procedures.  

Discussion: 

NRC holds licensee management, not the radiation safety staff or consultants, 
responsible for assuring the safe performance of licensed activities and ad-
herence to NRC requirements. 

Although there may be a radiation safety officer (RSO) assigned day-to-day 
radiation safety responsibilities, management retains responsibility to assure 
that radiation safety activities are performed in accordance with both 
internal procedures and NRC requirements. The amount of time necessary for 
management oversight will depend on the size and scope of the program.  
Management should support and monitor the RSO and safety staff to make sure 
they have adequate resources to do their jobs, are not devoting an inordinate 
amount of time to other duties, and adequately implement all radiation safety 
requirements. 

The licensee's responsibility for control of its operations also extends to 
consultants and contractors.  In certain circumstances, licensees may seek 
qualified assistance when the licensee staff does not possess the necessary 
experience, training, equipment, or personal dosimetry to perform particular 
activities.  However, the responsibility for the safety of the operations and 
compliance with NRC requirements remains with the licensee. 

NRC expects licensees' management to be aware of the conditions of their 
license to ensure that they understand their responsibilities under the 
license.  This should include an examination of the details of their radiation 
safety program, to verify that the program complies with all requirements.  As 
a result, licensees can avoid the serious consequences to their employees and 
the public and the significant financial costs that can result from failure to 
follow NRC requirements and from subsequent enforcement action by NRC. 

No written response is required by this information notice.  If you have any 
questions about this matter, please contact the appropriate NRC regional 
office or this office. 




                                        Richard E. Cunningham, Director
                                        Division of Industrial and
                                          Medical Nuclear Safety
                                        Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                          and Safeguards

Technical Contact:  Jack R. Metzger, NMSS
                    (301) 492-3424

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices 
.                                                            Attachment
                                                            IN 88-10 
                                                            March 28, 1988 
                                                            Page 1 of 1

                             LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
                            NRC INFORMATION NOTICES 
_____________________________________________________________________________
Information                                  Date of 
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________

87-44,         Thimble Tube Thinning in      3/28/88        All holders of OLs
Supp. 1        Westinghouse Reactors                        of CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors 
                                                            that employ a 
                                                            Westinghouse NSSS.

88-09          Reduced Reliability of        3/18/88        All holders of OLs
               Steam-Driven Auxiliary                       or CPs for nuclear
               Feedwater Pumps Caused                       power reactors. 
               by Instability of Woodward 
               PG-PL Governors 

88-08          Chemical Reactions with       3/14/88        All NRC licensees 
               Radioactive Waste                            generating or pro-
               Solidification Agents                        cessing low level 
                                                            radioactive waste.

88-07          Inadvertent Transfer of       3/7/88         All NRC broad 
               Licensed Material to                         licensees and 
               Uncontrolled Locations                       licensees 
                                                            authorized to 
                                                            possess byproduct 
                                                            material as sealed
                                                            sources in 
                                                            teletherapy units 
                                                            or "self-
                                                            contained" 
                                                            irradiators. 

88-06          Foreign Objects in Steam      2/29/88        All holders of OLs
               Generators                                   or CPs for PWRs. 

88-05          Fire in Annunciator Control   2/11/88        All holders of OLs
               Cabinets                                     or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors. 

88-04          Inadequate Qualification      2/5/88         All holders of OLs
               and Documentation of Fire                    or CPs for nuclear
               Barrier Penetration Seals                    power reactors. 

88-03          Cracks in Shroud Support      2/2/88         All holders of OLs
               Access Hole Cover Welds                      or CPs for BWRs. 
_____________________________________________________________________________
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013